Follow the Tokaido Highway
Highlights of the Area
MISHIMA TAISHA SHRINE, GENBE RIVER, RAKUJOUEN PARK
The Old Tokaido Highway became firmly established in the early 17th century as the main thoroughfare for travelers between the new capital of Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.
The 11th Post Town of Mishima was home to 2 “Honjin” ( official lodging for feudal lords, priests and aristocrats) and 74 other inns for everyone else.
Depending which way you were traveling Mishima was the first or last Post Station in what is known today as Shizuoka Prefecture.
After, or before, traveling over the Hakone Hachiri Pass, which was one of the steepest parts of the Tokaido Highway, many of the Feudal Lords and their entourage would stay in Mishima.
The town of Mishima was perhaps most famous for Mishima Taisha Shrine which was located right next to the path of the Tokaido Highway.
The origins of Mishima Taisha Shrine date back nearly 1500 years.
The shrine is said to have been relocated to Mishima sometime during the Heian Period (794 – 1185 AD) when the Izu Province was established and neighbouring Numazu was designated as the capital of the area.
The first Shogun of the Kamakura Period (1185 – 1333 AD) Minamoto no Yoritomo was said to worship at the Mishima Shrine after he was exiled from Kamakura to Izu.
When the famous 19th Century artist Hiroshige painted his depiction of the Mishima Post Station in his series ‘The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido’.
Hiroshige depicted travelers on the highway walking past the front Torii Gate with a silhouette of Mishima Taisha Shrine visible in the background.
Before visiting Mishima travelers that are really interested in the Old Tokaido Highway should first travel from Odawara to Mishima.
Walking the Hakone Hachiri section of the Tokaido to get a real feel for what travelers 300 years ago experienced.
If the weather is kind in the morning the Yamanaka Castle Ruins (28 min bus ride from Mishima) is highly recommended for some morning exercise, fresh air and amazing views of Mt Fuji (weather permitting).
The castle was destroyed in 1590, just before the Tokaido Highway came to prominence, but travelers on the old road would have passed by these ruins as they made their way to and from Hakone.
Close to Yamanaka Castle Ruins is Mishima Skywalk Bridge – Japan’s longest suspension bridge – A great place for a coffee or lunch and maybe a thrilling zipline ride, a walk through the hydrangea garden and more Mt Fuji photo opportunities.
After lunch and a look around head back to Mishima Station.
After returning to Mishima Station keep the walking shoes on an head to Rakujuen Park (just 2 minutes walk from the South exit of the Station).
In the park you will find sprawling Japanese gardens that used to be the holiday villa of Prince Akihito Komatsunomiya in the 19th century, as well as local artifacts dating back 30,000 years in the small museum.
From the park keep walking South and follow the signposts for the Genbe River.
The source of the water in this river comes directly from snow melt on the top of Mt Fuji that is filtered over decades before it reaches the streets of Mishima.
After 10 minutes or so you will come to the road that used to be the Tokaido Highway.
Turn left here and you will soon come across Mishima Taisha Shrine.
For a detailed map of Mishima and Tokaido Related attractions in English check www.shizuoka-tokaido.biz
Here are some other ways you can experience the Tokaido in Shizuoka.
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Follow the Old Tokaido Highway to Mariko Juku – the 20th post station on the road from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Follow the Old Tokaido Highway to Yui Juku – the 16th post station on the road from Tokyo to Kyoto.
The 13th-15th ‘Juku’ on the Old Tokaido Highway could best be described as the Mt Fuji Post Stations.